MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS 2022: Two Boogie Down Precincts With Bad Attitudes: The 44th and the 41st
12:01 AM EDT on March 16, 2022
This is the seventh first-round battle in our annual March (Parking) Madness contest. Previously in the first round, Brooklyn Heights's 84th Precinct, the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, the 48th in the Bronx, last year's champs, the 114th Precinct, and Manhattan's 24th Precinct all moved onto their disrespective borough finals. Polls remain open until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. in another Brooklyn battle, Brooklyn’s 69th vs. the 83rd. For a reminder on why we do this contest, click here.
The Bronx, at least in part, is experiencing a big change — witness the erection of luxury housing in the southern part of the borough, with its Manhattan-style rebranding as "SoBro" — but in other ways it remains "The Land That Time Forgot." The two precinct houses that we are examining here seem intent on keeping the city's only mainland borough in the latter category — a place that seems haunted by the past. To wit:
44th Precinct (Southwest Bronx)
Call it "The Hell Under the El."
The 44th Precinct, at 2 E. 169th St., lies just eight blocks north of Yankee Stadium and two blocks north of the 167th Street subway stop on (and under) the elevated No. 4 train. Serving High Bridge, the Grand Concourse and Mount Eden, the precinct contains what some people describe as the toughest streets in the city ("On tour in the 44th Precinct: Five hours of fear and mayhem in the Bronx" was the headline of a 2020 amNY article).
But the cops of the 44th aren't making the area any more livable when it comes to their insane parking practices — not to mention their crime-fighting approach (statistics kept by watchdogs, such as Legal Aid, 50-a.org, and ProPublica, suggest that the officers of the 44th are riding roughshod over the population and even fellow cops as they perform their regular duties). The area around the stationhouse — which sits at on a triangle at the confluence of Jerome, Gerard and River avenues — literally presents as a sea of cars, with vehicles parked on every sidewalk, double parked, or parked in crosswalks on those streets as well as 168th and 169th.
The stationhouse, which supports a service station and garage with mechanics for fixing broken cruisers, has a big lot in its enclosure and another that extends up to the roof, so why all the guerrilla parking on the sidewalks?
Cops could also park in several commercial lots around the area, including one right across 169th, and but they mostly don't, preferring to disrespect their neighbors by making the area a car sewer. And, naturally, being cops, the officers of the 44th have erected barricades to keep neighborhood residents at a safe distance — although you can enter the stationhouse (which, as we will see below, is not a given). Why are officers so fearful of the population, one wonders? Maybe they're afraid of blowback from the ugly parking?
The area is so choked with cops' private cars, in fact, that the 44th may have the mojo to go all the way in Streetsblog's tournament! Seriously, in sheer volume, it rivals last year's winner, the 114th in Astoria.
Needless to say, we saw many violations among the cars parked on the sidewalks — especially school-zone speed camera tickets. (Who knew that speed cameras would singlehandedly claw back untold millions of taxpayer dollars lost to overly generous PBA contracts?) Of 20 random plates that we ran of cars parked in cop spots, 14, or two-thirds, had violations, such as:
- One car with eight school-zone speed camera tickets since last year.
- Another with 10 school-zone speed camera tickets since 2016.
- Yet another with five school-zone speed camera tickets and three for failure to stop at red lights.
As we are sorry to have to note again, a single school-zone speed-camera ticket is enough to deter most motorists from re-infracting but cops — who are supposed to enforce our Vehicle and Traffic Law — seem to live by the credo that "The VTL is for thee and not for me!" Meanwhile, they add to a dangerous traffic situation in the precinct, which experienced 13,317 total crashes (more than seven per day) in the five years from March 1, 2017 through Feb. 28, 2022, killing five pedestrians and one motorist and injuring 4,687, according to city data.
41st Precinct (Southeast Bronx)
The 41st Precinct house, in a nicely designed, newish building at 1035 Longwood Ave., patrols Longwood and Hunts Point and abuts Southern Boulevard and the elevated Bruckner Expressway, the truck route for the Hunts Point Market and a notorious contributor to the hellacious asthma rates of the South Bronx. The stationhouse, however, could not be better served by public transit: It sits atop the IRT No. 6 Longwood subway station and next to a bus stop, is a short walk from the elevated 2 and 5 trains at Westchester Avenue, and even has a large Citi Bike dock across the street. But the cops of the 41st love driving their cars into the neighborhood, disregarding that to "protect and serve" also includes keeping safe the lungs of the neighborhood's many residents.
There is a large lot behind the stationhouse, but cops' personal cars can be found parked on the sidewalk and plaza at the front of the building, among those triple-parked on Southern Boulevard and blocking the bus stop. Traffic in the area is omnipresent and dangerous: There have been 8,023 reported crashes in the last five years (about 4.4 crashes a day), killing four pedestrians and 14 motorists, and injuring 2,440 people.
We ran the plates of 11 of the cops' personal cars parked in front of the stationhouse on the plaza or blocking the fire hydrant directly adjacent to it on Bruckner Boulevard. Whaddya know? These guys have no shame. Only two cars had no violations, and several had many, including:
- One car has 17 school-zone speed camera tickets since 2019.
- One has six school-zone speed camera tickets since 2018.
- Another has four camera-issued tickets since 2017.
The most troubling thing that Streetsblog saw at the 41st wasn't about parking, however. It was the entrance, which on the day Streetsblog visited was totally barricaded to residents, with a cop (standing behind a "Do Not Enter" sign) manning the enclosure in order to triage anyone who might approach. It's understandable, from one point of view: In 2020, a man walked into the station house and opened fire, wounding two officers. Still, it was sad, as if the stationhouse was still as beleaguered as it was when (in an earlier building) was derisively referred to as "Fort Apache," a monicker bestowed by tone-deaf cops that long offended residents. In that era, the 41st became a nationwide symbol of urban dysfunction. Even now it is seeing a surge in robberies. But it's nothing like it once was, having been substantially rebuilt.
So which is the worst parking offender of the two? Polls will close on Friday at noon. Please vote:
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